A Tennessee-based barber is on a mission to empower his young customers to read. According to Inside Edition, barber Jermaine Scott provides discounts for youngsters who read books while he’s cutting their hair.
In this digital age, many children have traded in books for iPads and prefer to watch YouTube videos than flip through the pages of a book. According to CBS News, children and teenagers between the ages of eight and 18 spend an average of over seven hours in front of a screen; whether it be a phone, computer, iPad or other types of electronics. Determined to encourage youngsters to spend less time on their digital devices and more time reading books, 28-year-old Scott began to give children who read in his barber chair $5 discounts for their haircuts every Thursday. He also wanted to use this initiative as a way to lessen the price for low-income parents who can’t afford to pay for their children’s haircuts.
When Scott started “Barbershop Book Day” six months ago he would get books from a local library for children to read. After word spread about the impactful work that he was doing, he received over 200 donated books from individuals throughout the country. “You have to educate your mind,” the Ligons Barbershop barber said in a statement. “Education is key.” Scott plans on taking his initiative a step further by launching a tour for children where they can hear from inspirational speakers.
Several individuals have been using barbershops as a vessel to promote the importance of education. Entrepreneur Alvin Irby launched a program called Barbershop Books as a way to inspire young African American boys to read. Through the program—which was created for children between the ages of 4 and 8—young readers provide suggestions for the types of books they want to see in barbershops and Irby then ships those books to their local shops. The program also allows companies, nonprofits, and individuals to sponsor book stations at barbershops within their communities.